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The Weekly Connect 4/25/22

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Strategies schools can use to support students and staff who are suffering from trauma.

Factors driving restrictive policies on LGBTQ issues

Rural districts in Texas are moving to a four-day school week

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 4/25/22”

Giving Back: Daniel Triana Alvarado joins the Mary E. Walsh Center for Thriving Children

Daniel Triana Alvarado was 7 years old when his family moved from Mexico to Westborough, Mass., where he began a journey through public education that prepared him for and led him to the Mary E. Walsh Center for Thriving Children, the home of City Connects.

Westborough, Triana recalls, was a town with resources for families and students. In high school, Triana had a guidance counselor, Steven Favulli, who talked to him and his family about college.

“My parents still talk about how important Mr. Favulli was,” Triana says. “He made my parents feel like they had a grasp of what was going on in school because he spoke Spanish, and he took the time to help them understand.” 

Triana enrolled in Worcester State University (WSU) where he decided to major in business administration, attracted by the range of doors the degree promised to open.

“What did I get out of going to Worcester State University?” Triana says, musing about his college years. “Opportunities.”

These weren’t typical opportunities. Triana was working full time in college, so he couldn’t participate in internships. And he hadn’t developed career aspirations based on seeing the careers of his parents or of family friends. Instead, his opportunities came in the form of personal connections.

Continue reading “Giving Back: Daniel Triana Alvarado joins the Mary E. Walsh Center for Thriving Children”

The Weekly Connect 4/19/22

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Infants born during the pandemic vocalize significantly less and engage in less verbal “turn-taking” behaviors found to be critical for language development. 

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signs a bill into a law that provides school children with free, basic vision screenings.

A federally funded liaison helps homeless students in rural Texas

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 4/19/22”

Community in action: the Edison School connects with Boston College athletes

When Irina Shumway started working as a City Connects coordinator at Boston’s Thomas A. Edison K8 School last October, she felt “like a new kid in school.” The best way to make a new kid feel welcome is to be embraced by the community. 

The Boston College athletic department did just that. 

Part of Shumway’s role as a Coordinator is reconnecting with community partners who bring services and enrichment programs to City Connects schools, including Boston College’s student athletes.

After Shumway arrived, she made two connections: restarting a pen pal program and reaching out to the Eagle football team. 

In the pen pal program, Edison students in 12 classes write to Boston College athletes and the athletes respond. Next month, the kids and the college students will meet each other and put faces to the names on the letters. Fortunately, transportation won’t be a barrier because it’s easy to walk from the Edison School to Boston College.

Shumway also connected with Joshua Beekman, Boston College’s Director of Football Initiatives.

“Joshua said, I have these football players, and they would love to do something,” Shumway said. “We didn’t know exactly what it would look like. We thought we’d have the athletes come play football with the kids during recess.”

Continue reading “Community in action: the Edison School connects with Boston College athletes”

The Weekly Connect 4/11/22

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Daytime naps may preschoolers’ boost early literacy skills

A bipartisan bill in Congress would keep universal school meals through Sept. 30, 2023.

To address the pandemic-related mental health crisis among students, California teachers are taking a course called Youth Mental Health First Aid.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 4/11/22”

Making connections in Poughkeepsie

City Connects has launched in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a small city with local challenges and rich cultural resources it is eager to share with its students. 

Joining Salem, Mass., and other cities, Poughkeepsie created a Children’s Cabinet that is part of a national network of cabinets based at Harvard’s Education Redesign Lab.

Co-chaired by school Superintendent Eric Jay Rosser and Mayor Rob Rolison, the goal of the cabinet is to create “a community where all children and youth thrive and have equitable opportunities to reach their full potential.”

For Poughkeepsie, achieving this work means addressing local challenges. The city is home to racial and economic segregation. And an estimated 22.7 percent of residents live below the poverty line, according to the school district.

Another challenge for Poughkeepsie, according to municipal officials, is that the city is “resource rich” and “systems poor.” There are, in other words, abundant social and cultural resources. Poughkeepsie is investing $4 million in its 18 parks. Local higher education neighbors include the Culinary Institute of America, Marist College, SUNY New Paltz, and Dutchess Community College. There are dozens of cultural organizations. And while the pandemic has been devastating, it has also inspired new civic ideas and projects.

What’s missing is a way to bring these resources to students. 

Continue reading “Making connections in Poughkeepsie”

The Weekly Connect 4/4/22

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Young children can learn more from guided play than direct instruction.

President Biden’s 2023 budget seeks funding increases for high-poverty school districts and new money for mental health supports.

Aging school buildings aren’t designed for the weather extremes caused by climate change.

To read more, click on the following links.

Continue reading “The Weekly Connect 4/4/22”

Building on a career in school counseling, Jennifer Bouckaert joins City Connects

When Jennifer Bouckaert began her career in the public schools of Southbridge, Mass., as a school adjustment counselor, she saw that the schools and the students were overwhelmed.

“Students were struggling behaviorally. There weren’t a lot of structures or systems in place to support them. We didn’t have preventative or proactive procedures,” she recalls.

“We were firefighting. We weren’t problem-solving and getting kids what they needed.”

 In 2016, Southbridge’s public schools were taken over by officials from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who put the school system into receivership, citing years of “persistently low student performance” as well as the fact that “Since 2011, seven individuals have served as superintendent, and there has been a similar level of turnover in other leadership positions in the district.”

Massachusetts, the Department said, had provided years of assistance and resources to Southbridge, “but the district-led efforts did not improve student performance significantly.”

Bouckaert worked with her Southbridge schools colleagues to build new systems and structures. They partnered with the Center for Behavioral Education and Research to implement the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program or PBIS.

“The goal was to help build the capacity of the teachers and school staff to create an environment where all students would thrive. We developed a system of positive acknowledgement where students were praised for what they did well and retaught expectations when necessary. This was the beginning of creating a positive, proactive climate and culture.” 

Continue reading “Building on a career in school counseling, Jennifer Bouckaert joins City Connects”
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